(Bologna Working Group. (2005), Copenhagen – summery)

In all European countries, psychologists have trained and applied their knowledge in nationally specific frameworks, characterized by differences in language, educational traditions, forms of employment, the manner and degree of government participation. Developing under very different political and economic conditions, the education of psychologists has taken different forms in different countries, in some cases with an emphasis on continuous and equal training, public funding and regulation by law, in other cases with an emphasis on early differentiation and market competition with other professions. These facts must be taken into account when it when it comes to reform to a single model of regulation and, at the same time, for national and academic autonomy.

The overarching Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area derives from the theses set out in the Bologna Declaration. At the same time, the framework provides an opportunity to take into account some national specifics and traditions in psychology education, without violating the principle of comparability of qualification levels. While maintaining the cyclical nature of education and the content of the totality of cycles in general, balancing with credit, the overarching Qualification Framework provides opportunities for internal shifts and regroupings in curricula dictated by the goals of education in the country, traditions in training psychologists, specifics of psychological directions.

The overarching Qualification Framework has the following distribution:

First cycle – Bachelor’s level
This cycle typically include 180-240 ECTS credits

Qualifications that signify completion of the first cycle (e.g. Bachelor’s degrees) are awarded to students who:

  • have demonstrated knowledge and understanding in a field of study that builds upon their general secondary education, and is typically at a level that, whilst supported by advanced textbooks, includes some aspects that will be informed by knowledge of the forefront of their field of study;
  • can apply their knowledge and understanding in a manner that indicates a professional approach to their work or vocation, and have competences typically demonstrated through devising and sustaining arguments and solving problems within their field of study;
  • have the ability to gather and interpret relevant data (usually within their field of study) to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues;
  • can communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to continue to undertake further study with a high degree of autonomy.

Second cycle – Master’s level
This cycle typically include 90-120 ECTS credits, with a minimum of 60 credits at the level of the 2nd cycle

  • have demonstrated knowledge and understanding that is founded upon and extends and/or enhances that typically associated with the first cycle, and that provides a basis or opportunity for originality in developing and/or applying ideas, often within a research context;
  • can apply their knowledge and understanding, and problem solving abilities in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study;
  • have the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity, and formulate judgements with incomplete or limited information, but that include reflecting on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgements;
  • can communicate their conclusions, and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and nonspecialist audiences clearly and unambiguously;
  • have the learning skills to allow them to continue to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous.

Third cycle – PhD
A typical amount of credits is not prescribed for this cycle

Qualifications that signify completion of the third cycle are awarded to students who:

  • have demonstrated a systematic understanding of a field of study and mastery of the skills and methods of research associated with that field;
  • have demonstrated the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial process of research with scholarly integrity;
  • have made a contribution through original research that extends the frontier of knowledge by developing a substantial body of work, some of which merits national or international refereed publication;
  • are capable of critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas;
  • can communicate with their peers, the larger scholarly community and with society in general about their areas of expertise;
  • can be expected to be able to promote, within academic and professional contexts, technological, social or cultural advancement in a knowledge based society.